It's Annie Power v Big Buck's in the World Hurdle.
Here we are at Day 3 of the Festival, and all eyes are on the big 3.20 bout between Annie Power and Big Buck’s in the World Hurdle. We’ll get to that particular battle a little later on, but first let’s have a recap on the terrific day we enjoyed yesterday.
We tipped you Faugheen in the 1.30 and he duly delivered, giving us back-to-back wins in the opening race after our Vautor call on Tuesday. We then gave you a Whisper in the ear as to who would take the Coral Cup, giving us a cool 25/1 winner. Balthazar King’s triumph in the Cross Country Handicap Chase gave us a further boost to what was a fantastic Wednesday’s racing.
So where are the value bets this fine St Patrick’s Thursday?
The sun should break through the early morning mist for the 1.30 JLT Novices’ Chase, and we’ve got high hopes for Oscar Whisky on good going in this one. Nicky Henderson’s 9yo has much experience on Cheltenham turf and has produced the goods with two victories in his last two trips here, recovering from a mistake to secure the win by half a length over Wonderful Charm in his most recent. If he stays error-free, he can definitely out-pace the field here with the ground is in his favour.
In the 2.05, Josies Orders looks sets for a big run, having outclassed strong fields in his last two races while Uncle Jimmy is your each way option at 20/1, having been sniffing around the places with consistency and is an improving horse.
There are some familiar names on show in the 2.40 Ryanair Chase, and while Boston Bob and Menorah’s last outings leave them with much to find,Dyanste and Benefficient should go at it for the win. It’s the latter however, who gets our shout to retain the title here. In what was his first race over hurdles he left Dynaste way back by three and a quarter lengths 12 months ago, and seeing off strong competition in the shape Hidden Cyclose, Arvika Ligeionniere, Sizing Europe and Baily Green in his most recent showing at Leopardstown, has got the momentum going into today’s Chase.
So now onto the race on everyone’s lips, the World Hurdle. Does Annie have the Power, or are your bucks on Big Buck’s? Are you with the Lady or the Champ? We’re going with Annie Power. With 10 wins in 10, Willie Mullins’ mare is a force to be reckoned with, and although Big Buck’s has been a terrific champion, his 3rd finish here at Cheltenham two months ago suggests his star may be on the wane.
Keep an eye on More of That, who has the potential to steal the show and represents a strong 8/1 option if you are opposing the two front runners in the betting. With an unbeaten record, this 6yo is a champion in the making – it’s just a case of whether the time is now for JP McManus’ starlet.